About Democracy for NYC

Democracy for NYC (DFNYC) is committed to the ideals espoused by Democracy for America, the organization founded by Howard Dean, and the national network of local coalition groups dedicated to the same.

EndorsedLogo PlasticWe work both locally and nationally to ensure that fiscally responsible and socially progressive candidates are elected at all levels of government. We develop innovative ways to advocate for the issues that matter to our members and support legislation which has a positive effect in our communities.  We promote transparency and ethical practices in government.  We engage people in the political process and give them the tools to organize, communicate, mobilize, and enact change on the local, state, and national level.

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About Democracy for New York City



Corey Johnson Answers to DFNYC Candidate Questionnaire

Corey Johnson is running for NYC Council in District 3 on the west side of Manhattan. For our list of candidates and other facts about this race, click here.

Corey Johnson's Answers to DFNYC's 2013 Candidate Questionnaire:

1. Money in NYC Politics. Large donors, specifically real estate developers and landlords, have a huge amount of influence in NYC politics due to their campaign contributions. While NYC’s matching funds programs is seen as one of the most innovative public funding campaigns in the country, many DFNYC members feel that big money donors still have too much influence and candidates still spend too much time fundraising. Would you support a change to full public financing of campaigns, similar to the Clean Money Clean Elections programs in Arizona, Connecticut and Maine?

Public financing of elections removes the undue influence exercised by large donors and enables candidates to engage with the community and issues of import rather than moneyed sources. Clean Money Clean Elections has a proven track record of delivering both elected officials and legislation free of corporate interests and should be expanded nationwide to the fullest extent allowable by law.

2. Tenant Protection & Cost of Housing. Do you support rent stabilization and rent control laws? What will you do to crack down on landlords that break the law? Would you call on the state legislature to repeal vacancy decontrol and more generally, the Urstadt Law, so that New York City – and not Albany – can enact its own housing laws?

Rent regulation is crucial to preserving the diversity and vibrancy of our city while affording all who work, or worked, in our communities the ability to partake in the metropolis they built. The recent creation of the Tenant Protection Unit at HCR was an important step forward in regulating landlord harassment and maltreatment of tenants but additional funding must be secured and regulations implemented to prevent the collection of a rent increase, and in some extreme cases rent at all, unless the landlord can prove compliance with safety, health and maintenance standards. Home rule control of our rent regulated housing should be restored to NYC but must be accompanied with an overhaul of the RGB procedures and to guarantee the Council a role in reviewing appointees.

3. Paid Sick Leave. There is currently a bill in the city council that would require companies in NYC with 5 or more employees to give 5 paid sick days per year to each employee (if they do not already). While many councilmembers support this, it has not been brought to a vote. Supporters feel this is much needed public health legislation that would only minimally raise labor costs, while opponents say that it would be an unfair financial burden to small business. Do you support the bill and will you actively work to get it passed? Sources: ~For: http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/labor/news/2012/11/16/45152/myth-vs-fact-paid-sick-days/ ~Against: http://www.nypost.com/p/news/opinion/opedcolumnists/why_we_reject_sick_leave_bill_03pE50CZMFiHFhXzasDMLL

I was proud to support Intro 97-A and lead MCB4 in passing a resolution in support of paid sick leave. I am glad that a compromise was reached this past week to in the coming two years extend coverage to businesses with greater than 15 employees, and will work to expand those covered after the successful implementation of this initial round and release of the mandated IBO report.

4. Fair Police Practices & Occupy Wall Street. The New York City Police Department has been highly criticized for its Stop & Frisk policy, which disproportionally affects racial minorities and poor and working class New Yorkers. The NYPD has also been criticized for its treatment of activists in the Occupy Wall Street movement. Do you support ending or modifying Stop & Frisk? If running for mayor, will you keep Ray Kelly or appoint a new police commissioner? Do you think Mayor Bloomberg and the NYPD should have handled events in the OWS movement differently and what measures will you take to protect political demonstrations?

I have been a leader in opposing the NYPD’s stop and frisk policy which breeds distrust and divides communities. The targeting of minority and trans communities must not be tolerated. As Chair of Community Board 4 I spoke out with other CB Chairs and the Borough President in opposing the policy and in support of the Community Safety Act. The mishandling of OWS by the NYPD speaks to the need for strengthened oversight of the department by both the CCRB and an IG. I’ve been able to work productively with local police precinct and community councils on making sure that police and the great community work together on public safety and I hope that such a spirit of communication will pervade future long-term actions.

5. Mayoral Control of Education. Mayoral Control of NYC schools is set to expire in 2016, but the state legislature can renew it. If elected to city government, you will not directly vote on mayoral control, but you will have a ‘bully pulpit’ as renewal is discussed in the next 3 years. Do you support keeping Mayoral Control as is, letting it expire, or making changes, for example to the hearing process for controversial decisions? (Examples: Co-locations of multiple schools in one building, providing district school space to charter schools, phasing out schools that have been labeled as “failing” due to high dropout rates, low test scores, or other factors.)

I believe that the present appointment process to the PEP is flawed and that it should be revised to afford the City Council representation and to remove the ability for the appointing official to remove members at their leisure. I further believe that in addition to maintaining the numerical obligations concerning the parent membership of the central body, all additional members should either be accredited educators, administrators or parents and anyone directly employed by the appointing official should be precluded from service. I formerly Co-Chaired the Education Committee on Community Board 4 before I became Chair of the Board and worked with local public schools, PTAs, students and teachers in making sure that our local schools are adequately funded. I also helped ensure that Board 4 adopted a resolution opposing the co-location of charter schools in Community Education Council District 2. CECs should be granted additional oversight over the disposition and utilization of DOE space and ULURP should be extended to allow Community Boards a role in the sale and lease of school space to developers.

6. Teacher Evaluation. A key area where the mayor has influence in public education is in the negotiation of a contract with NYC’s public school teachers. Please give your opinion on the following proposed ways to evaluate teachers for the purpose of tenure, salary and other job benefits: Improvement in student test scores, observations by other teachers, student surveys, whether the teacher has an advanced degree, a principal’s evaluation of a teacher. Should principals be allowed to do unannounced observations of teachers? Do you have any experience negotiating labor union contracts?

One of the biggest failures of the present administration has been its refusal to engage in good-faith negotiations with municipal unions, including the UFT (and also imperiling our children recently the ATU). Any rubric for teacher evaluation should be focused on peer and supervisor evaluations with the primary purpose being professional development and constructive growth rather than retention and benefits.

7. Co-location of charter schools. City officials do not decide how many charter schools can exist, or grant requests to be a charter school. However, the Department of Education - currently controlled by the Mayor - may decide to provide charter schools with space, usually by "co-location" with district public schools. While more than half of NYC schools (not just charters) are co-located, it is a controversial topic when a charter school is involved. Critics argue that cash-strapped district schools should not be forced to share resources with charter schools and that co-location creates a morale problem when students and parents see the contrast. Co-location advocates argue that charter schools are public schools and should have an equal right to publicly owned resources such as buildings, charter schools do not receive funding for space and therefore operate at a severe financial disadvantage if they have to find private space, and that differences between co-located schools result from decisions the principals make about how to spend their per-pupil funding. Do you support the DOE giving public school space to charter schools?

Sources AgainstClick here for funding and space arguments.  In Favor: Click here for Funding   Click here for Space (pdf)

I formerly Co-Chaired the Education Committee on Community Board 4 before I became Chair of the Board and worked with local public schools, PTAs, students and teachers in making sure that our local schools are adequately funded. I also helped ensure that Board 4 adopted a resolution opposing the co-location of charter schools in Community Education Council District 2. Such co-locations drain resources from the schools where they are housed and among others imperil magnet grants, access to physical education, reasonable lunchtimes and the necessary spaces for arts and music education.

8. The City Wage Tax. New York City’s budget depends in large part on the city wage tax, which is only paid by residents, not everyone who works in NYC. Would you call on the state legislature to allow NYC to collect the tax from people from the suburbs who work in NYC and benefit from our services (police, fire, etc.)? Would you support efforts to collect the tax from people who actually live in New York City but use a second home (a loophole not available to middle class New Yorkers with just one home) to avoid the city wage tax? If these efforts work, would you be willing to reduce the city wage tax so that workers would have more take home pay, and there would be less incentive for people to move to the suburbs, reducing our tax base?

All those who work within the confines of NYC should be contributing city wage taxes. By legislating the collection of this tax from non-residents of the city, the incentive to claim an alternative address for the purpose of avoiding this tax will be eliminated. This additional revenue will allow us to reduce the burden on those families unable to afford a second home and by eliminating the incentive to reside elsewhere stimulate our economy throughout.

9. Other Taxes. Do you support progressive taxation? Do you support Governor Cuomo’s approach to the marginal tax rate on high incomes? What is your opinion on the current property tax in NYC? Would you support a federal financial transaction tax to either raise revenue, reduce the practice of high frequency trading, or both?

I support a permanent New York City Progressive Income Taxation (PIT) system on the top 4% of city filers that would raise approximately $1 billion of new City revenue to protect working-and middle-class families from service cuts and regressive tax increases. The NYC property tax system is in need of significant overhaul and reform. It should be revised to ensure that an owner-occupied condo or coop pays the same rate as a comparably valued single family home and that investment and non-owner occupied properties are taxed at a higher rate.

10. Poverty & the Social Safety Net. According to a 2012 report by the Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies, many struggling New Yorkers are eligible for welfare, but have not been able to obtain it due to onerous application requirements, and the excessive and arbitrary use of “sanctions” by the City’s Human Resources Administration (HRA). These obstacles have caused very little increase in welfare cases during the recent recession, as contrasted with large increases in Food Stamps and Medicaid. Would you change HRA to make it easier for eligible families to obtain cash assistance, connect them to jobs or meaningful job training, and reform the improper use of sanctions? How would you manage New York City's social safety net programs to ensure that people get the help they need, while at the same time preventing fraud? Report: http:/www.fpwa.org/cgi-bin/iowa/policy/article/218.html

It is a shame that at the same time last month we celebrated an all-time high on the stock market, NYC was facing an all-time high in our shelter census. We must do everything possible to eliminate any and all obstacles preventing eligible families from obtaining the necessary assistance and training to live their lives with dignity. The application process must be revised to eliminate onerous requirements and the improper use of sanctions ceased. The question of fraud is a red herring and any and all benefits of increased access far outstrips any potential savings from these onerous processes.

11. Homelessness. When Mayor Bloomberg first ran, he promised to introduce policies to drastically reduce the numbers of people who are homeless in our city. But during the twelve years of his administration, the numbers of homeless have increased dramatically each year. This is in addition to the approximately 50,000 people sleeping in shelters on an average night, according to a recent report by the Coalition for the Homeless. What would you do to deal with this sad situation? Sources: http://www.coalitionforthehomeless.org/pages/state-of-the-homeless-2013 http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/20/nyregion/20homeless.html

The recent actions of the administration itself have only exacerbated the homeless census through the elimination of Advantage and other access to permanence programs and a method of securing emergency shelters that erodes at an already shrinking base of affordable housing. We need to develop programs that will train and care for our homeless population and improve their economic conditions while moving them towards self-sustaining jobs and homes. For those who are homeless as a result of mental or physical illness, additional case management and support services need to be deployed to deliver the necessary resources.

12. Hurricane Sandy & Environmental Protection. The devastating impact that Hurricane Sandy had on New York City poses short term and long term challenges: immediate support for those who lost their homes and businesses, and climate change, respectively. What measures do you support for helping Sandy recovery efforts, as well as energy conservation and reducing the carbon footprint of New York City? What is your position on hydraulic fracturing and the Spectra pipeline?

The efforts to rebuild in the wake of Hurricane Sandy highlight a long-standing need for a public works program. At a time with interest rates at a historic low I support a “21st Century WPA for NYC”. By creating a public works program that stimulates investment in infrastructure to make NYC more resilient in the face of climate change, including storm-surge adaptations, clean energy and below-grade infrastructure we will be creating a platform for economic growth and neighborhood stability. I’ve opposed hydrofracking as Chair of Community Board 4 and also oppose the Spectra pipeline being built under the Hudson River and coming into neighborhoods on the West Side. I’ve led the charge on these important environmental issues in my community.

13. Gun Control. While DFNYC members have long supported gun control, the December 14th shooting in Newtown, Connecticut seems to have changed the debate on the national level. Do you support the proposals President Obama made to (a) renew and fix the assault weapons ban, (b) ban high capacity magazines (limit the number of bullets that can be shot before reloading), and (c) improve the background check system? Please indicate any other methods you would support to reduce gun violence, including how you would implement them, for example: gun buy-back programs, training programs for gun owners, improved access to mental health care, and involving the business community in gun safety.

I support both the NY SAFE Act in its original form and the President’s proposal to renew and strengthen the AWB, ban high capacity magazines and eliminate gun show and other loopholes in the background check system. Gun buyback and community education programs as well as microstamping and finger trigger locks are important tools in removing guns from our streets and preventing unauthorized persons from discharging them.

14. Choice & Marriage Equality. Please briefly state your position on the following three issues: marriage equality for gays & lesbians, a woman's right to choose, and access to birth control. (25 words or less)

I wholeheartedly support marriage equality for all, a woman’s right to choose and access to birth control.

~ Corey Johnson, candidate for NYC Council, District 3, Corey2013.com

Contact Information

Email: info -at- dfnyc.org


A local coalition group of Democracy for America since 2004

Democracy for NYC (DFNYC) is committed to the ideals espoused by Democracy for America, the organization founded by Howard Dean, and the national network of local coalition groups dedicated to the same.